An Electrifying Challenge: Tinting A Tesla Model-X Windshield
Since its inception, the Tesla Motor Company has made a huge impact within the car community. From completely abandoning the combustion engine concept in favor of 100% battery power, to eliminating the dealership network in favor of factory-direct sales, Tesla has been going against the grain since day one. But it’s not just the enthusiast community that Tesla’s vehicle lineup has shaken up - the shockwave is felt very much in the detailing industry as well. Trust us, we’re no stranger to any of Tesla’s vehicles, nor are we foreign to the challenges that come with protecting them from the elements.
In our experience, above all else, most of our clients who bring their Teslas to our shop are not so much concerned with speed as they are with ensuring that their vehicle is protected against the brutal Chicago seasonal cycle. As a result, both of our shops have been inundated with a swarm of Model S’s, Model 3s, and, the gull-winged Model X - which might be the Tesla that presents the biggest challenge of all, particularly concerning the windshield.
If you haven’t seen the windshield on a Tesla Model X, it’s certainly not like any other design you’re familiar with. It’s a large single piece of shaped glass that extends from the edge of the dashboard to just over the heads of the driver and front passenger seats. It makes for some pretty spectacular views when you’re driving around; but despite this, that also means that without a solid roof over their heads, the driver and front passenger are also much more exposed to sunlight and harmful UV rays than vehicles with “traditional” windshield designs. The owner of the model X we took in wanted a way to resolve this issue without compromising forward visibility. Fortunately, we had the perfect answer to our client’s problem: Llumar Air-80 window film.
Unlike traditional window tints, LLumar Air-80 film offers the same level of UV and heat rejection as darker tints while maintaining a seamless, transparent appearance. This design makes Air-80 ideal for windshield applications as you won’t have to worry about compromising forward visibility as it is completely clear and designed to be almost “invisible” to the naked eye.
Our crew began by taking a sheet of the Air-80 film and laying it over the outside of the windshield. Next, we hit it with a heat gun and lubrication to make the film more malleable and thus easier to mold to the Model-X windshield. We worked the film onto the glass, ensuring that there were no loose edges, fingering, or pockets of air remaining.
Next, we had to hand-trim the film to fit the glass. The biggest challenge here was the rearview mirror of the Model X. As the mirror contains tech and sensors vital to the vehicle’s driver assistance programs, our crew had to carefully trim the fitted film around the mirror mount, so as to allow the Tesla’s electric driver assistance programs to continue to function normally. Additionally, because these systems were hard-wired, there was a channel that went from the mirror all the way back to the top end of the windshield. This meant having to hand-trim the film around that channel to fit it successfully with no overlap or additional trim work. Once the film was completely trimmed and molded to the glass, our crew carefully rolled up the film, starting from the top end and working their way to the bottom. The next step was to apply the film to the glass.
This step took four of our window tint pros to complete thanks to the vast size of the glass, and subsequently the film piece that they would be applying. They all took a seat inside, two in the front seats and two in the back. Carefully, they started the application at the base of the windshield where the glass meets the dashboard, working their way up to the top edge just over the heads of the driver and front seat passenger, where the two guys in the backseat finished the job.
The entire process took time and patience, but once again, our crew faced the challenge with confidence. Now, the client will get to enjoy the beautiful views provided by the windshield of his Model X without having to worry about subjecting himself or his passengers to prolonged heat and UV exposure from the sun.